String Theory

. May 19, 2015.

The history of fiber is unraveling. 

Images of quiet women diligently quilting, sewing on buttons, spinning yarn and mending clothing no longer sufficiently expresses the potential of the media. While traditional applications of fiber are still present, the medium began drifting into galleries after World War II, taking a shape no longer informed by the necessity of utility.

fiber557, an upcoming, annual juried-art exhibition, wants to help you understand what happens when textile artists are given permission to prioritize form over function. A wide range of fiber works, from nearly 60 artists, will be on display during the first weekend of June, demonstrating the versatility of the media. 

A common thread

Open to all artists working with fiber or with fiber-influenced media, fiber577 draws artists and visitors matching the diversity of the materials, which includes everything from paper pulp to raw wool.   

“There’s a wide variety,” said Julie A. Beutler, committee member of fiber577 and owner of Angelwood Gallery. “There will be pieces that are very understandable, like quilts, but we also range to some more avant-garde work,” which will likely challenge viewers who are more comfortable with a traditional approach.  

Works in the show are chosen based on quality of craftsmanship, but the committee has a special interest in maintaining a careful selection of diverse pieces for the viewer. Guests will see traditional techniques, such as dying, quilting, weaving, knitting and felting, used in contemporary ways. 

“People are really pushing the boundaries and it’s exciting,” said Francis Parry, committee member of fiber577. “This all goes back to the mission of our show: wanting to encourage people to do that kind of work and also to expose it to the public, though we still highly value traditional work and craftsmanship.” 

The full nine yards

In addition to the juried-art exhibition, fiber577’s celebratory weekend will not only feature fiber arts demonstrations, but musicians, live animals, including bunnies and alpacas, and special, non-juried exhibitions of local artists practicing other crafts, including pottery from 577 classes.

 Experience the changing face of fiber arts with the friendly and diverse faces of regional and international artists. 

10am-5pm, Saturday, June 6.
Noon-5pm, Sunday, June 6-7.
The 577 Foundation, 577 E. Front St.,
Perrysburg. 419-872-0305. Free